Deskaling

I said in my last blog it might take some time for the decaling job and I wasn’t wrong. Although I am very happy with the results so far.

Decaljob

To just get it over with, the worst result:

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I don’t know what happened exactly, but I guess something was still wrong with my layers of gloss. Applying Revell Decal Softener might have actually made things worse since the under layer wasn’t good enough.

I might be wrong there. I will have to look into it before I will do my next decaling job. If anyone of my readers can tell me if I am right or wrong in my assessment that would be awesome as always.

Some more small things that could have been better:

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‘Nur hier betret–‘. This decal got folded when applying it and I wasn’t able to repair it unfortunately. This is a typical place for some weathering I guess, so it should be all right.
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I had to cut the red decals in two pieces because I was not able to fold them around the wings, horizontal stabilizers and rudder. Unfortunately they fell of a number of times today, so I might have to just paint these small areas.
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The decal itself is fine, but I wonder if the number on the side really looked like this on the real plane, because it looks like it was cut out from an NFL jersey. ATCDave, any thoughts on this perhaps?

Overall I do feel pretty good about this process. As I mentioned in the last blog I figured it was probably some bad childhood memory that made me look up to this job, but really is a mistake to compare yourself to your twenty year younger self isn’t it.. especially being a kid you can be excused for not thinking things through. 32 year old me does a much better job.

Of course it could be the decals just got better, or maybe I just leave them in the water a lot shorter. But I know that one big thing is that small cotton swabs I got at a hobby shop really are a big friend with this job. I was able to salvage many rolled up decals without any problem by just making a cotton swab slightly damp and picking the decal up. I was then able to just roll it off the swab and onto the model.

I know that as a kid I just used my clunky fingers, often resulting in the torn up decals I have had nightmares about.

Some more pictures of my progress so far:

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All the parts not fixed onto the main body at this point are done.

Something I found interesting myself: I had never really thought about what would happen with the drop tanks and sort of figured they would just be lost after use.

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The text on the drop tank instructs the finder to immediately report the location of the drop tank to police or a an airfield when finding this fuel container for a reward of 10 Reichsmark. I think that would about 14 euro’s? Sounds like quite a lot of money!
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The underside as shown in the instruction manual is done..
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As is the top. That leaves the sides to finish the job.

Although I initially mentioned I would do the underside first, it seems to not really work like that once you get down to it. Obviously you don’t want to cut in the middle of the paper too much to avoid damaging any decals, so mostly I just work towards a decal I actually want to place. I also try to avoid touching anything I just placed on the models.. unfortunately I already have had some decals on my hand that I had already placed but didn’t let dry.

I will probably be able to wrap this up pretty soon, and then it is on to doing my first experiment with chipping!

IPMS Nederland

I received my membership card and login details for the IPMS site! I think there will be a regional meeting on September 18th and it would be great if I could take the FW-190 with me!

So far I found a nice tip in one of the magazines I got with the membership: using wood glue to temporarily fix things into place. I will definitely have to try that because tack isn’t always a good solution.

I also saw a nice example of a A6M3 on the forum, which is great because I hope to start my A6M5 project in a couple of weeks. It turns out one of the inspiration sources was a book I bought myself a week ago:

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Aircraft Scale Modeling F.A.Q. by Daniel Zamaride

Excellent book for beginners and probably a nice reference work for more advanced builders as well. This will be a good starting point for all the things I still want to try!

Anyway, I am excited to have joined IPMS and I hope I can enjoy the benefits.

It might not be a big deal for a lot of people, but the last couple of years I have suffered from social anxiety more than I have realized. I guess it sort of crept up on me over the years. I was just intimidated by going to the things I had to go to like social meetings at work, but also weddings and birthdays of friends. You can imagine that if you suffer from that with the things you have to do you’re not even thinking about doing the things you will actually want to do! Not too long ago it would have been out of the question to even visit a hobby shop, and now I have actually joined a club and look forward to visiting my first meeting!

New desk!

I decided on my new desk and it should come in tomorrow!

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This should be about 140×140 cm, compared to the 75×100 cm I have right now. It also has those drawers so I can hopefully have a clean desk most of the time!

Now I just need something to place all my stuff in, so I am not done with spending money. OK, by now I am ready to accept that you never really are in this hobby.

I will probably focus on getting things in the right place tomorrow!

Groetjes,

Dan

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Weekly random thoughts

Last week I had the idea to do a weekly blog on Friday night about random modelling related subjects that I wanted to write about.  Although a week later it seems it won’t be a Friday night thing necessarily I’d still like to do a ‘weekend’ update as long as there is something to write about.

For the last three weeks I have been watching Friday Night  Live ‘At The Bench’ By International Scale Modeller. I’m not sure if I will watch every week, but I quite like the idea of spending my Friday night in that environment, listening to modelers and hearing about new kits and related stuff with a beer in my hand. The only problem is I am not a known person in that community, and obviously sometimes that means you will be ignored.

I hope to have found a dutch community though, even if it doesn’t have hangouts and a live Friday night show!

IPMS Nederland

If all goes well I will be a member of IPMS Nederland soon. IPMS is an abbreviation for ‘Internation Plastic Modellers Society’, and that name makes me suspicious I will have to go through some sort of sacrificial ceremony to become a member. Perhaps I will have to throw my first model into the fire and cut my hands open while performing a secret dance. I have a feeling it will probably still be worth it:

  • My main supplier Hobbycar in Tilburg has a very nice deal that entails getting a 10% discount on every purchase when showing your IPMS card. With the recent purchase of the compressor I’ve come to the point where I could have joined immediately and saved 40 euro’s, but since I haven’t been active in the hobby for that long it would have been a risk. By now, I am fairly certain I will stick to this hobby for the coming time so a membership will be worth it, especially since I am already planning my next purchases (which I will have to keep quiet about until somewhere in October hopefully! Ooooh secrets!)
  • Free entrance to IPMS NL events. While I am usually not a huge fan of this sort of thing, I am actually quite keen on seeing what others are up to and I might end up going to some of these!
  • A magazine, published 5 times a year.
  • Access to the forum to contact other IPMS NL members.

Looking forward to becoming a member!

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The flag I will have to pledge allegiance to when I become a member.

Site work

I have done yet another overhaul of the site layout. The reason is I have become a premium member of WordPress. Is it an economical decision? No, absolutely not. And realistically it will never be. But writing about modelling is a huge part of the hobby for me and I want things to look good!

A big change not directly related to this upgrade is that I have sorted my blogs according to category, so it’s easier to see all related posts for a project I am working on.

I notice I get a lot of traffic from people who most likely typed in ‘Revell’ and the kit number into Google. Probably looking for a review the poor people find my site. I don’t like disappointing people so next time I will tag my posts like that I’ll make sure I will actually have something useful to say about the kit itself rather than my experience with it. With that, and the addition of the categories, I hope they will stick around for the other posts about the build they apparently take interest in.

In the future I’d like to do proper kit reviews of my new purchases, just showing what is inside the kit and not so much giving my opinion on it. If people are interested in the things I come a cross they can follow the build blogs. I might do these reviews on video. The premium deal has some possibilities for that, but I might also go for YouTube which could provide more viewers.

To be clear: right now I have a handful of followers. I love their support and feedback and I hope to keep them subscribed, but of course I started this blog purely for myself to keep track of where I am heading with my modelling, and the things I am learning about modelling. That said I want all my visitors to have a good time and I provide quality when it comes to my output. That means even though this site might be my little place, I wouldn’t want to to do anything that hurts the experience of visitors. In fact, the more visitors the more information likely will come to me, and my ultimate goal is to learn more all the time!

Upgrading the workplace

This is just a dream at the moment, but looking around a bit I have seen some nice workbenches on the internet! Nice and spacey compared to what I have right now..

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This becomes cluttered so quickly.. I really need something bigger.

Sure I can clean a couple of more shelves, but it seems this hobby is here to stay and that means I would just love to get a big desk and a nice big construction to place my paint an materials in.. Really have to look into something nice, but it seems the really nice workplaces are DIY!

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This is the homemade workplace by Simon Jones, which I saw on the ISM facebook page today. Looks exciting!

And what I also still need is a nice showcase to place my models in! I probably will have to go for that purchase first, since the FW-190 is progressing nicely.

The FW-190 A8/R11

I didn’t do a lot of work since my last update of this kit, but I did paint those antennas today that are specific to the R11:

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The R number was the designation for the conversion packages available for this plane and the R11 package was the night fighter conversion. The antenna’s on this conversion will be fitted to the wing and I am very excited to see how this will look on the end result! And yes, that’s the propeller cone on the left, which is in the same color and thus rode along with this airbrush session.

In my last update I gave this model a gloss clear coat. The next step will be to apply the decals! Really looks like I am getting in the final stages of this build!

Inspiration in the skies above Gilze

As I think I’ve mentioned before, I live about a 10 minutes walk away from the Gilze-Rijen Airbase. While the bulk of the activity of this airbase comes from helicopters of Defensie Helikopter Commando, the Koninklijke Luchtmacht Historische Vluchten is also based there. This morning they were flying around with an awesome beast:

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The PH-OUQ is a Mk IX. The Koninklijke Luchtmacht actually operated the MK IX for a while, but it was the clipped wing version. Should I want to mimic that: 03927 also has the clipped version of the IX.

I plan to do some other kits before picking up the Spitfire MK IXc (Revell 03927) again. but seeing this bird make it’s rounds above the village this morning gave me half the mind to do this build in this livery.

Plenty of time to think about that though.. the problem might be this livery might be a little too simple, especially since I plan to pick this up after the A6M5 which also doesn’t have a very exciting livery. I will probably end up doing to camo that is displayed on the box..

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That’s it for this week, thanks for reading!

Groetjes,

Dan

Finally back on track

A few days of problems with the airbrush and wrongly thinking I had found the source of the problems has really taken the wind out of my sails. I noticed that this morning as I was finally ready to start some actual work again.

New compressor

In my last blog I attempted to repair my first compressor and failed. So within a month after purchasing the Fengda BD-831 set which includes a BD-135 airbrush and an AS-200 mini-compressor I had to get something else.

I first visited a couple of hardware stores to see if there would be a cheaper alternative to a ‘specialized’ airbrush compressor. The two stores I checked only had more expensive options, so I drove on to Hobbycar again.

I left with a Fengda AS-186. I had already decided it would definitely be something with an air tank because turning the mini-compressor on and off all the time and it still being overheated within half an hour really got me in trouble once I started the camouflage stage of the FW-190 build I am doing. The AS-186 has a 3 liter tank and when it turns on again it doesn’t make much more sound than my airbrush booth.

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Unfortunately I didn’t think about an airbrush holder and the 1/8 2x airbrush hose I needed. But after a second visit to Hobbycar I had another nice addition to my workplace!

This morning I went back to Hobbycar for a third time in two days. I joked to the store owner he should consider getting me my own key by now. When I tried the compressor last night with a bit of water in my airbrush, I noticed the spray didn’t go straight. After all the trouble I had last days it would make sense that either the needle or the nozzle would be damaged so I bought both, and after replacing the needle it seemed better.

After having two longer airbrush sessions today I can say I am really falling in love with this compressor! The only downside from having the thing next to me on the table is that it shakes quite a bit when it has turned on again, and of course a 3 liter tank is empty quite quickly so there’s a Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On. Still, that is really a minor nuisance and at times I didn’t even notice until well after it had turned on again. Probably just needs some getting used to.

I am now also able to adjust the pressure output, which has already come in handy today! Probably essential in getting an acceptable result on the challenging camo I am working on right now.

Back to the FW-190 camouflage

Since I started my re-integration to get back to a 40 hour work week I notice I have had a lot less energy left for model building, which is fine and of course was to be expected. But since I noticed the quality on my B747-8F work wasn’t what I wanted it to be I decided to at this stage wait with doing two builds at the same time like I planned. I’m sure when my energy-levels are back to normal I can pick it up again, but at that time I will hopefully also be back to work completely so I will have less time available for modelling anyway.

As I said in the introduction, I had to get my bearings a bit when starting this project up again.

Today I was able to really get some work done on the camouflage of the FW-190 and I am very curious what you guys think, especially on the mottled camouflage on the sides.

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I didn’t do a lot on the underside, but I painted the sides and front of the wings and although I am happy with the stripes it has left on the front as was supposed to happen, I will have to redo some of the rest of the wing area since I didn’t mask anything off.
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I am quite proud of the wing camouflage! I free handed it and I think it turned out pretty good! I didn’t mask off here so no tight lining here between the different colors.
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Don’t mind about the broken off gun, that happened a while ago directly after the primer stage. The camo on the engine cowlings also needs more work.. it is shaped wrong and is probably too low. I am not sure about the mottling effect.

I did this side first, and after some reading I did most of the other side with a thinner mixture and a lower pressure output on my compressor.

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I think I like this side a little better.. the lower pressure and thinner mixture gave me a little more control which is required for those tiny details.

But even on this side I think I will either have to do a thin layer of the light blue because the effect is too strong, or maybe I will even have to do a complete layer of light blue and start all over again?

I even tried the camouflage on a Spitfire part I had laying around last week, but I am not sure how I like the mottling effect right now and I am hoping you guys can give me some feedback on how it looks.

As always, I am very grateful for all constructive criticism and feedback!

Groetjes,

Dan

 

 

Compressor failure

Unfortunately I had another bad session with my airbrush this weekend, but before I was able to do more testing I let the airbrush compressor overheat and the ‘safety mechanism’ on the Fengda AS-200 means you are basically done until you let the thing cool off, and then open it again as I wrote in an earlier blog.

Safety Mechanism

Imagine if you and your mate Fengda (he is adopted) are sitting in a bar.  He picked you up with his car, and the plan is to have a couple of beers before he will drive you back home. But hey, look who came through the door! A couple of old friends who used to live in the same town you and your mate still live in! You have much catching up to do and you buy the guys a round of beer, and before you know it is 3 am in the morning and both you and Fengda are incredibly drunk.

You do have to get home at some point, but it would be irresponsible to have Fengda drive you in the state he is in. He just keeps going though. He says he is an even better driver when he has had a couple of beers. You start arguing and you tell him he should give you his car keys.

Suddenly Fengda storms out of the pub, sprints to his car and slashes all four of his tyres.

After you both walk home and sleep it off, you meet up with Fengda again. You take the bus to get a couple of new tyres. You just can’t figure out why Fengda didn’t just give the keys to you or the barkeeper instead of his dramatic little show, but you are too tired to start about it, and so if Fengda who still smells of booze and puke.

The Red Button

I know by now that there are three things you might notice when the Fengda AS-200 compressor is overheating:

  1. The engine noise will occasionally fluctuate even though you are not using the airbrush.
  2. The engine will shut down.
  3. The compressor can not be restarted. The red button simply does not click and nothing happens when you try.

Before I opened the thing up or even had the overheating situation, I had read the safety instructions and saw that there was a safety mechanism in place to prevent overheating. It gave me a safe and cozy feeling. After my first overheat I let the thing cool down like the instructions said, even though I already noticed the red button did not respond and I found it hard to believe it somehow would again after letting the thing cool off. After an hour or two the red button still made no sound and the compressor still didn’t start, so I decided to open the thing up even though some of my greatest technical achievements are changing a light bulb and resetting a fuse switch.

Fengda AS-200 inside
Doesn’t look too complex, even for me.

The above picture is not what I found though. What I found was that what was on the underside of the red button (the black tube where the red and yellow wires end up on the left side of the picture) had come loose, and the spring that was between that part and the red button which made the button do anything had also popped out and lay somewhere next to the engine.

As said I am not very technical when it comes to these things, but I was able to deduct what should go where and quickly had it working again.

The yellow wire

This week I had another overheat, and after letting the engine cool down I opened the compressor up again to do this same trick. Unfortunately this time I was not able to get the button back to working condition since the yellow wire which is soldered on to the button contraption had come loose in the struggle to get it back together. The difficult thing I found was keeping the contraption together while at the same time making sure the wires don’t get stuck between the sides of the compressor and don’t rest directly on the engine so they could possibly get damaged once the thing gets heated.

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Time to do some soldering of my own I guess!

Soldering on

I bought myself a soldering set and spend a few hours trying to get this to work. Unfortunately even though I have watched a few videos on soldering, this job turned out to be too much for me.

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The closest I got to restoring the contraption to the way it was.

This result wasn’t acceptable even for my standards, and the thing fell apart when I even started thinking about putting it back together. I wanted to add more tin, but the heat had already melted the plastic through heat conduction and things went from bad to worse from there.

It’s a shame really, because I actually got a bit further than I had expected. What was probably a bit too much for me was that this was more than just soldering a wire together with a piece of metal. There was a third part that had to be joined, and in the end I was unable to correctly join these together. I used too much tin and there was too much heat in all parts so even the plastic melted.

Of course the repair job is purely my lack of expertise and experience with this. Good experience though!

So, was this a safety mechanism?

I am wondering if this really is the way Fengda has designed it. The instruction manual advises to use the thing for not longer than half an hour, an advice I have to say I frequently do not follow although I also have to say that if this is a mechanism that works as intended it at least does what it should: it keeps me from further using a device that is already overheating.

But the manual also talks about the device being equipped with a thermal switch. It tells me to let the thing cool down for at least 30 minutes, but does not say whether or not the DIY button fix is required. It could be something is just not working as it should.

Cheap

Whether or not the Fengda way is to passive aggressively slash the tyres rather than give you the keys I just don’t know, but I do know this compressor is about 25 euro’s in the Netherlands. That is probably about as cheap as you can get a compressor.

In the end it was my own mistake to not return this thing to the store when it didn’t work after letting it cool down. I find it hard to believe you have to send the compressor back to the factory every time it has overheated. If that is the overheating protection, than I am glad I tried to fix it myself. In the end though I will have to literally pay the price, by buying a new compressor.

Hopefully I can do that tomorrow so I can finally get back to some actual modelling!

Groetjes,

Dan

 

More stuff.. again!

In the words of an obscure late-20th century poet B.J. Spears: ‘Oops, I did it again!’ That is obviously a joke and obviously she didn’t write that herself. Anyway!

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Tada! The BD-512 spray booth. I wanted to get one anyway and yesterday I visited hobbycar again and well.. here we are!

I really can’t stand strong smells and let’s be honest, this hobby has a few.. I especially hope it will help with the primer!

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The reason I went to the hobbyshop again was actually to get one of these.. and well, once something is in my head I want it so after a demo I decided to just go for it.

I know I buy a lot of stuff, but I spend a lot of time on this hobby and I like to be prepared. I see these things as an investment since I just started this hobby. I’m sure I won’t keep spending the amount of money I spent on all this in the last two months!

Back to the FW-190. I started work on the camo these last two days.

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First I expanded the light blue color that I did on the underside earlier this week so now the tail and side are covered as well.

I did a larger area than required to avoid having to revisit this color.. I hate it when I at some point discover I forgot a small area, especially if mixing colors is involved like with the light blue. Of course today I did discover just that, but the area I missed is small enough to do with a brush.

I keep learning more about my airbrush. In my last blog I joyfully reported I had thinned my mixture so much for the light blue that I had a good result. Well it appears that wasn’t the entire story.. To finish the light blue on the sides of the fuselage I went straight for this thin mixture and it still didn’t work! Then finally after another frustrating half hour I guess I accidentally didn’t screw the air cap back on completely and the thing started working like a charm!

I don’t know if this means I screwed something up when I put the airbrush back together a while back, but today I did more work on the camo and it worked reliably. I don’t think I haven’t been able to use my airbrush reliably for two days in a row so far! Well, today was fine just like yesterday!

Since I didn’t know yet how good using the airbrush would go today I didn’t want to go all out again and planned on doing the rear wings first and see how far I would get with just a bit of very thinly mixed ‘staubgrau’, more englishly known as dust gray.

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Do your masking jobs look like this? There has to be a better way!
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And of course there is, because I bought some flexible masking type a few weeks ago! Requires a lot less angled yellow masking tape.
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I don’t know if it’s visible on this picture but the result of the airbrush isn’t very precise.

I suspect this is either because I screwed loose the air cap or because I still used a very thin mixture of dust gray because of my earlier experience.

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I used up the rest of the staubgrau until the flow staubed, ha.

I free-handed the camouflage so far and I will probably will need a few tries to get it just right, but I am still confident it will give me a better result than masking it off.

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Since airbrushing went so well I did the two bottom engine cowlings as well.

The yellow mixture was way, way too thin! Even though I already knew it didn’t need to be as thin as I have used in the last couple of weeks I went for an even thinner ratio.. don’t know why I did that because it was already somewhat thinned with water because I had just cleaned my mixing cup. Ah well, I did a couple of layers and the result looks fine!

Pretty happy with how this thing is turning out!

Groetjes,

Dan

The fun is back!

I can’t say everything went smoothly today, but having had some time to put things in perspective about some of the mistake I made so far on this kit and I did get that satisfying feeling back with today’s work.

I will hopefully look back at the FW-190 kit in a while and be happy about the things that have I have learned since then.

Like not gluing on fragile parts too soon! Here I placed the fuel tank rack back on because it also goes in the same color.
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It would make sense to do the underside first. I have to mix light blue matt with some white matt and I don’t think I will be able to do everything in one take because the compressor might overheat.

After mixing those colors I first sprayed a line on the Spit-Wreck to see what the exact output was.

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Unfortunately I ran into trouble soon after I started airbrushing. This is a far as I got when I decided to do an ’emergency’ check and cleaning on respectively the compressor and the airbrush.
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I first opened up the compressor because the engine seems to be getting slower right after starting it up and I might have placed things back in the wrong way after I last opened it.

I first opened this thing a few weeks ago after a my first long airbrushing session. I had read in the manual there was a ‘safety mechanism’ that would let the compressor automatically shut down when it got too hot. I had this weird idea that there would be some complex system behind that, so I kept going for more than 45 minutes when the engine sound starting fluctuating and the thing switched off. Ah, I thought. There is the safety mechanism. Unfortunately after letting the thing cool down for half an hour it wouldn’t turn on again.. When pushing the nice red button on top I heard no click like I should and so I opened it up.

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The part I have my finger on had separated from the part just above it.

I screwed the part back on and the button clicked and functioned again. And that’s the entire safety mechanism. Well, it works I guess. But of course it also means I have to take better care in managing the time of my sessions and make sure thing doesn’t overheat. Which is fine, but after opening it again to take these pictures I first made a mistake getting the wires back in the right place in the right place so they got stuck between the covers. I noticed that soon enough and corrected it by moving the PCB in the right place. I got a nice shock in the process as I didn’t unplug, doh!

That was last week, and this afternoon when I noticed things weren’t working I first wanted to check the compressor to see if I placed the engine back correctly. I am no expert, but I had the feeling the engine had a harder time getting the air through because of the slowness, maybe because I had somehow twisted the tubes in the compressor.

Anyway, the engine sounds better again like it should but the problem still wasn’t solved. I already occasionally open the airbrush to clean the needle and I clean the nozzle from the outside. I clean the thing with water after every use and every now and then with paint remover. This afternoon I did the same but for the first time I also removed the nozzle. So I now took the entire thing apart and cleaned everything, literately squeaky clean.

And still it didn’t work!

Since I was ready to throw the mixture away now, before I did I threw in another couple of drops of thinner.. and then it finally worked! It was a bit splashy, but after the first few seconds of spraying it was under control.

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Pretty happy with having done the entire underside!
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The result isn’t as thick everywhere, but that’s fine. This isn’t a 50’s Cadillac.

The compressor was pretty hot by now and I didn’t like the light so that was all today for airbrushing. Anyway, my mixture keeps being too thick and I really have to not be so careful with thinning it.

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I decided to move my table again to hopefully get some better light in the daytime.
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I spent an hour on the B747-8F again.

Having this as a second project is a nice contrast from the FW-190. These two tiny gear bays together took me almost 2 hours! Unfortunately things seem to fit a lot less neatly than the 1/32 stuff I did so far, so I really have to take care with dry fitting. And that in itself is also very difficult, because you sometimes have to keep 5 parts up at the same time!

Groetjes,
Dan

Watching paint dry

Or actually primer. I didn’t do anything to the body today but do a tiny bit of sanding, which doesn’t seem to make anything better. I did apply primer on some parts though.

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Maybe I should get some new furniture for a nice big piece of styrofoam!

Then I moved on to the B747-8F. I made less progress than I had planned, but those tiny parts really need a lot of time to get right.

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I worked with primer again inside the house, and my girlfriend so far has been very sympathetic (maybe because she saw me sulk over the primer fail) but I really have to find a way to reduce the smell when it’s time for primer.

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Something like this probably.

Started me re-integration into the workplace and as was  expected it is tiring, so I will have less and less time for this hobby. Which obviously is a good thing for me, but perhaps also for way I do things in this hobby.. sometimes I just try to rush things and getting my balanced life back a step at a time will make me think better about what to do when.

-Dan